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Habitat Bulletin

Volume 231 Number 2 | Friday, 20 May 2016

Habitat III Informal Hearings with Local Authorities Associations

16-17 May 2016 | UN Headquarters, New York

Language: EN (HTML/PDF)
Visit our IISD/ENB+ Meeting Coverage from UN Headquarters, New York at:

The Habitat III Informal Hearings with Local Authorities Associations took place from 16-17 May 2016, at UN Headquarters in New York. The meeting brought together representatives more than 120 of local and regional governments to exchange views with member states and observers on the recently submitted zero draft of the Habitat III outcome document. The UN General Assembly mandated the meeting in December 2015 (A/RES/70/210).

The meeting included panels on: key recommendations on the Habitat III draft outcome document from a regional perspective; presentations by members of the Global Task Force of Local and Regional Governments on transformative commitments for sustainable urban development; building the urban structure—establishing a supportive national, sub-national and local framework; planning and managing the urban spatial development; enhancing the means of implementation; and follow-up and review of the New Urban Agenda.


As a result of the First UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat I), which took place in Vancouver, Canada, from 31 May to 11 June 1976, the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements officially established the UN Centre for Human Settlements as the major UN agency mandated by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. By UNGA resolution 32/162 of 19 December 1977, the Commission for Human Settlements was also established as the governing body for the UN Centre for Human Settlements.

With six out of every ten people in the world expected to reside in urban areas by 2030, UN-Habitat notes that cities face unprecedented demographic, environmental, economic, social and spatial challenges. According to UN-Habitat, more than 90% of this growth will take place in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Hence, urban areas are central to sustainable development efforts. Habitat III will build on the work from Habitat I and the second UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), as well as on recently agreed global frameworks, including: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 2015-2030; the Paris Agreement on Climate Change; and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development.

HABITAT II: Habitat II convened in Istanbul, Turkey, from 3-14 June 1996, on the 20th anniversary of Habitat I. The Habitat Agenda and the Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements, adopted by the Conference, outlined over 100 commitments and strategies to address shelter and sustainable human settlements. With the adoption of the Habitat Agenda, the international community set itself the twin goals of achieving adequate shelter for all and ensuring sustainable human settlements development. Habitat II also reaffirmed the commitment to the full and progressive realization of the right to adequate housing.

56TH SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY: In its resolution 56/206 of 21 December 2001, the UNGA decided to transform the UN Centre for Human Settlements into UN-Habitat. The UNGA also decided, in the same resolution, to transform the Commission on Human Settlements into the Governing Council of UN-Habitat. The Governing Council, which was also made into a subsidiary body of the UNGA, reports to the General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and provides overall policy guidance, direction and supervision to UN-Habitat.

WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The World Summit on Sustainable Development convened in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 26 August to 4 September 2002. The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI), adopted by the Summit, calls for achieving a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020, as proposed in the Cities Without Slums Initiative.

The JPOI calls for actions at all levels to: improve access to land and property, adequate shelter and basic services for the urban and rural poor; use low-cost and sustainable materials and appropriate technologies for the construction of adequate and secure housing for the poor; increase decent employment, credit and income; remove unnecessary regulation and other obstacles for microenterprises and the informal sector; and support slum upgrading programmes within the framework of urban development plans.

22ND SESSION OF THE UN-HABITAT GOVERNING COUNCIL: This session took place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 30 March to 3 April 2009, on the theme: “Promoting affordable housing finance systems in an urbanizing world in the face of the global financial crisis and climate change.” The session reviewed the activities of UN-Habitat and adopted its work programme and budget for the biennium 2010-2011. It also adopted 11 resolutions, including on: affordable housing finance; cities and climate change; strengthening the development of urban young people; guidelines on access to basic services for all; South-South cooperation in human settlements; and human settlements development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

5TH WORLD URBAN FORUM: Designated by the UNGA as an advisory body, the World Urban Forum (WUF) is an open-ended think-tank designed to encourage debate and discussion on the challenges of urbanization, and to strengthen the coordination of international support for the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. The Fifth Session was held from 22-26 March 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on the theme “The right to the city: bridging the urban divide.” The session included six dialogues, which focused on the following key aspects of sustainable urbanization: the right to the city; inclusive cities; equal access to shelter and basic urban services; cultural diversity in cities; governance and participation; and climate change. The World Urban Campaign was also launched during the Forum, with the objective of elevating the drive by UN-Habitat and its Habitat Agenda partners for better, smarter, greener and more equitable cities to a new level.

23RD SESSION OF THE UN-HABITAT GOVERNING COUNCIL: This session took place from 11-15 April 2011, on the theme “Sustainable urban development through expanding equitable access to land and housing, basic services and infrastructure.” The session reviewed the activities of UN-Habitat and adopted its work programme and budget for the biennium 2012-2013. The session also adopted 18 resolutions, inter alia, on: gender equality and empowerment of women in sustainable urban development; support for pro-poor housing; access to quality urban public spaces; urban youth development; strategies and frameworks for improving the lives of slum dwellers, beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target; governance of UN-Habitat; safer cities and urban crime prevention; country activities by UN-Habitat; formulation of a global housing strategy; expanding equitable access to land, housing, basic services and infrastructure; and DRR, preparedness, prevention and mitigation.

RIO+20: The third and final meeting of the Preparatory Committee for Rio+20, pre-conference informal consultations and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) convened back-to-back in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 13-22 June 2012. During those ten days, government delegations concluded negotiations on the Rio outcome document, “The Future We Want,” and held, among other events, an Urban Summit that involved roundtables on, inter alia, multi-level governance and how cities across the world can learn from each other. It also launched the process for developing and adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the elaboration of a post-2015 development agenda.

7TH WORLD URBAN FORUM: The Seventh World Urban Forum (WUF7) took place from 7-11 April 2014 in Medellín, Colombia, on the theme “Urban Equity in Development - Cities for Life.” The meeting issued a declaration that recognized the transformational power of cities and that equity is the foundation of sustainable urban development. Calling for cities to become more inclusive and prosperous for all, the Declaration identifies as important issues, inter alia, the need for: an urbanization model that puts people first and fosters social cohesion, especially among socially marginalized groups, such as women, youth and indigenous peoples; comprehensive and participatory planning; national urban policies; gender equality and balanced land development; better urban resilience to climate change and other disasters; and safe and affordable transportation. The Declaration recognizes the post-2015 development agenda, SDGs and Habitat III processes as opportunities to affirm the importance of well-planned cities and the potential for urbanization to be a positive force for present and future generations.

UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT: This Summit took place from 25-27 September 2015, at UN Headquarters in New York. The Summit adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 SDGs and 169 associated targets. SDG 11 addresses urban areas, aiming to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” The Goal, in particular, contains targets to, by 2030: ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums; provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons; enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries; reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management; and provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces (in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities). The Goal also aims to: support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning; by 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for DRR, holistic DRR at all levels; and support least developed countries (LDCs), including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials. The SDG on sustainable cities and human settlements is interlinked with other SDGs on: ending poverty; ending hunger; ensuring healthy lives; ensuring education opportunities; achieving gender equality; ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all; promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all; building resilient infrastructure and promoting sustainable industrialization; reducing inequality within and among countries; ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns; combatting climate change; conserving and sustainably using oceans; protecting terrestrial ecosystems; promoting peaceful and inclusive societies; and strengthening the means of implementation (MOI). 

PREPARATIONS FOR HABITAT III: PrepCom 1: The 1st Preparatory Committee Meeting (PrepCom 1) for Habitat III took place from 17-18 September 2014 at UN Headquarters in New York. PrepCom 1 provided space for exchanging opinions, ideas and expectations related to the implementation of Habitat II and the process leading to Habitat III. The meeting launched the elaboration of the New Urban Agenda focusing, in particular, on how to address climate change and sustainable development in the context of urban environments. Sessions focused on: lessons learned in the context of US urbanization; gender issues; public transport; grassroots organizations; public spaces; civil society; UN system – Committee on Habitat III; the City We Need; and local and regional governments for Habitat III. 

PrepCom 2: Habitat III PrepCom 2 took place from 14-16 April 2015, in Nairobi, Kenya. PrepCom 2 addressed progress to date in the implementation of the Habitat II, discussed accreditation of non-governmental organizations and other major groups to Habitat III and its preparatory process. PrepCom 2 also considered the process for preparing and finalizing the Issue Papers as well as deliberated on the modalities for the Policy Units.

Policy Units: The Habitat III preparatory process established ten Policy Units, comprised of 20 experts each from academia, government, civil society and other regional and international bodies. The Policy Units intend to explore state-of-the-art research and analysis, identify good practices and lessons learned and develop independent policy recommendations on particular issues regarding sustainable urban development. They have identified the challenges to the New Urban Agenda and the policy priorities and critical issues for implementing the New Urban Agenda, as well as developed action-oriented recommendations for its implementation. 

Thematic Meetings: A series of thematic meetings took place to develop declarations, including on: civic engagement, on 7 September 2015, in Tel-Aviv, Israel; metropolitan areas, from 6-7 October 2015, in Montreal, Canada; intermediate cities, from 9-11 November 2015, in Cuenca, Ecuador; sustainable energy and cities, on 20 January 2016, in Abu Dhabi, UAE; financing urban development, from 9-11 March 2016, in Mexico City, Mexico; public spaces, from 4-5 April 2016, in Barcelona, Spain; and informal settlements, from 7-8 April 2016, in Pretoria, South Africa.

Regional Meetings: Regional meetings have also taken place to develop declarations: Asia-Pacific, from 21-22 October 2015, in Jakarta, Indonesia; Africa, from 24-26 February 2016, in Abuja, Nigeria; Europe, from 16-18 March 2016, in Prague, Czech Republic; and Latin America and the Caribbean, from 18-20 April 2016, in Toluca, Mexico.

Habitat III Informal Consultations: The Habitat III Open-Ended Informal Consultative Meetings took place from 25-29 April 2016, at UN Headquarters in New York. The meeting was organized around daily themes on: regional perspectives; transformative commitments for sustainable urban development; effective implementation; and how to enhance means of implementation (MOI).

Panels took place to examine the recommendations and outputs of the ten Habitat III Policy Units on: the right to the city and cities for all; socio-cultural urban framework; national urban policies; urban governance, capacity and institutional development; municipal finance and local fiscal systems; urban spatial strategies – land market and segregation; urban economic development strategies; urban ecology and resilience; urban services and technology; and housing policies.

Panels were also organized around the outcomes of seven Habitat III thematic meetings on: civic engagement; metropolitan areas; intermediate cities; sustainable energy and cities; financing urban development; public spaces; and informal settlements. One session also captured outcomes of Habitat III regional meetings, namely Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean.


On Monday, Habitat III Co-Chair María de los Ángeles Duarte, Ecuador, opened the hearings, noting the submission of the zero draft of the Habitat III outcome document on 6 May 2016. She emphasized the New Urban Agenda can only be made a reality with the leadership of mayors and other local leaders.

Underscoring that urban development cannot be contemplated without inclusion of local authorities, Habitat III Co-Chair Maryse Gautier, France, noted that Habitat III is at a critical point in the preparatory process with the launch of the zero draft and informal intergovernmental negotiations commencing on 18 May 2016. She stressed the meeting would provide the opportunity to listen to the comments and propositions of local authorities to improve the zero draft.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson welcomed submission of the zero draft, calling it a milestone in the preparatory process, which has already benefited from rich participation. Noting this is the first intergovernmental process to formally include contributions from local authorities and sub-national governments, he quoted UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, saying sustainable urban development is critical to achieving the SDGs and that the battle for sustainable development will be won or lost in our cities.

Habitat III Secretary-General Joan Clos said the zero draft is one step closer to an outcome that will shape the development of cities over the next 20 years, underscoring that more than 10,000 people have contributed to the zero draft through different modalities. He highlighted the historical nature of the hearing as the first time a dedicated platform has been made available for mayors and local leaders to directly address member states in an intergovernmental negotiations process.

Julián Castro, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, US, welcomed the current recognition of the role of local authorities, noting that cities are drivers of progress and constitute key partners in addressing climate change and terrorism. He highlighted the need for: investing in a shared prosperity; embracing a regional perspective; and ensuring greater openness and freedom.

Jacqueline Moustache-Belle, Mayor, Victoria, and President, Association of Districts of Victoria, Seychelles, commended the inclusion of the recommendations of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments in the zero draft, including on subsidiarity, decentralization and the links between the Agenda and the SDGs. She emphasized the role of the UN Advisory Committee of Local Authorities (UNACLA), and the importance of maintaining the Global Task Force, calling for elevating it from observer status, so that it can play an active role in the crafting and follow-up of the Agenda.


Mauricio Rodas, Mayor, Quito, Ecuador, said that the Habitat III Conference will mark a new era and a new stage of urbanization in the world, in Quito and in the entire region, which shows the fastest level of urbanization globally. Expressing hope that the voice of local governments will be central to Habitat III negotiations and the New Urban Agenda, he emphasized the need to clearly state the central role played by local governments, including in providing solutions to global problems.

Ada Colau, Mayor, Barcelona, Spain, emphasized the right to the city, stressing the need to protect public spaces and ensure democratic rights. She said that guaranteeing citizens’ rights, including to live a decent life in urban areas, is the responsibility of all government levels. She concluded calling for feminizing policies and values, putting priorities above speculation for clean investments that generate wealth and well-being, and for fairer policies related to refugees.

Tri Rismaharini, Mayor, Surabaya, Indonesia, underscored that the Asia-Pacific region recognizes that Habitat III is an important means to develop strategies to address urban challenges. She outlined work undertaken by her city and the government of Indonesia in preparation for the Third Preparatory Committee Meeting of Habitat III, which will take place in Surabaya, in July 2016.

Anthony Shorris, Deputy Mayor, New York City, US, outlined challenges, including: ensuring that populations are protected from risks, such as climate change and terrorism; addressing large scale migration; and sharing the responsibility to reach global goals. Saying this process has been a model of engagement with local authorities, Shorris stressed that the Habitat III outcome could maintain cities as a fulcrum for change to create more just and equitable cities.

Parks Tau, Executive Mayor, Johannesburg, South Africa, called for: enabling decentralization, noting the inclusion of local authorities in the South African Constitution; developing the the financial capacity of local authorities to develop and expand revenue sources, and access financial mechanisms and development aid directly; using networks of local authorities as the basis for partnerships with the UN and other international organizations; integrating programmes and avoiding silo thinking; and ensuring people-centered approaches.

Dato’ Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Mayor, Preprang Palai, Malaysia, for ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), welcomed the zero draft’s inclusive approach. She called for: more explicit reference to the link between urbanization and SDG 11 and the Paris Climate Agreement; detailed guidance and recommendations on implementation processes and mechanisms; clear definition of national commitments to action; and elaboration of a new architecture for dialogue and representation in and with the UN.

During discussion, stressing the need for specific mechanisms to capture land value increases, the International Union for Land Value Taxation, on behalf of NGOs, said that land value taxation is not only a source of revenue for communities but also a tool to control and redistribute the benefits of increased land value.

Colombia noted that local authorities are key to achieve the 2030 Agenda, noting the importance of decentralization and equity. He asked panelists how to reconcile short mandates of local governments with long-term development planning.

Malmo, Sweden, and SALAR, highlighted the link between governance and financing systems, noting the importance of: ensuring funding for local governments so they do not depend on the national level; working horizontally to include, among others, citizens, the business sector and the academia; and co-creating projects.

United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Africa called for the outcome to acknowledge the Global Task Force mechanism in the follow-up and evaluation of the New Urban Agenda after Quito. He highlighted the dialogue with local authorities and governments through the UNACLA and UNACLA’s role in policy definition. He reiterated the support for strengthening UN-Habitat and called for the involvement of local governments in the implementation of the Agenda through the Global Task Force.

The Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) highlighted linkages between the New Urban Agenda and global agreements and processes, noting the need for an Agenda that complements and supports the SDGs. Noting cities are engines of economic growth, he also stressed maintaining the engagement and contribution of the Global Task Force and the importance of partnerships.

Mexico said decentralization is a reality and that local governments are best placed to manage urban issues. He noted that the ongoing trend towards decentralization has not, however, necessarily translated into better capacity, especially in small and medium sized municipalities. He called for addressing multilevel coordination.

Cologne, Germany, stressed that local and regional governments should be at the negotiating table and called for their inclusion on national delegations. He emphasized social cohesion as a major element of local and regional development and called for peer-to-peer sharing of best practices.

Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR-CCRE) noted the mounting challenges facing local authorities, calling for including a local code of conduct for states, intergovernmental organizations and local authorities in the New Urban Agenda.

Community Mayor of Harlem Delois Blakely, US, emphasized inclusion of youth, noting engagement of youth in Harlem on issues such as water and access to broadband. She questioned how jobs and skills development for youth would be included in the New Urban Agenda.

Indonesia stressed that success in Surabaya has hinged on enabling local communities through people-centered approaches.

Plaine Commune, France, called for creating an entity that would permanently work with local communities and states, stressing the coming 20 years should be synonymous with peace and sustainable development.

Pujili, Ecuador, underscored the need to recognize issues related to rural areas and indigenous peoples as well and for sharing experiences.

Mayor Rismaharini noted programmes to reduce tropical diseases, decrease waste and provide work for women, with the aim of reducing poverty in Surabaya.

Mayor Colau called for a mechanism to ensure all levels of government can participate, stressing the need to tackle land speculation.


Enrique Peñalosa Londoño, Mayor, Bogota, Colombia, highlighted the importance of having public spaces, such as green ways, bicycles ways, city sidewalks and parks, and stressed the need for equitable access. He emphasized that land planning and policies are essential to decide where and how cities should grow, and ensuring government appropriation of surplus land values, rather than leaving it to private sector decision and appropriation.

Josep Rull, Co-President, Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development, and Regional Government of Catalonia, Spain, emphasized flexible strategic planning for better societies, economic opportunities, safety, mobility and connectivity, and supported transitioning cities to sustainable models of production and consumption. Highlighting decentralization and the distribution of power to sub-national governments to speed-up development, he cautioned against the risk of recentralization.

Dato’ Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Municipal President, Municipal Council, Seberang Perai, Malaysia, noted that the 17 SDGs and their associated targets and indicators must be included in the overall planning system and activities at the city level. She highlighted the need for good governance, in terms of competencies, transparency, accountability and administration, in order to generate a cleaner, greener, safer development of cities.

Nádia Campeão, Deputy Mayor, São Paulo, Brazil, emphasized the importance of grounding the right to the city in the New Urban Agenda, stressing that vulnerable groups should be protected in disputes over urban spaces. She underscored that the zero draft represents significant progress and that progress should be maintained as negotiations move forward. Given that local authorities will take a leadership role in implementation, Campeão called for a dialogue on stronger participation for them in intergovernmental organizations.

Luciana Blasco, City of Buenos Aires, Argentina, said the zero draft is an excellent starting point, saying that the right to the city should be present throughout the document, cultural patrimony should be a priority of planning processes and culture should be included in national urban policies.

During discussions, C40 Cities said that creating resilient cities and shifting to low-carbon development is the only way to reach the 1.5°C objective of the Paris Agreement. She also noted the importance of food security, food production and procurement and supply waste as crucial aspects that would require a new text. She stressed the need for bottom-up mechanisms to recognize and scale-up cities’ actions that are already driving sustainable development.

Colombia asked the panelists how to improve coordination and cooperation between levels of governments on development plans that go beyond their level. He also inquired about the integration of the three pillars of sustainable development and how to achieve integrated management at the local level.

Responding to the interventions from the participants, Peñalosa Londoño said that regardless of the number of municipalities, the growth of a city has to be planned, not chaotic as in most developing countries. He stressed that growth projections should be mandatory in developing countries to allow sound planning and that building cities is “not just a matter of doing the same thing but doing things a totally different, radically better, way.”

Mohd Sharif stressed the need for systematic integration at all levels, balancing limited resources with various needs.

Blasco stressed that the three pillars of sustainable development need to be integrated into the local level, suggesting the inclusion of culture as a fourth pillar.

Rull emphasized higher city density versus the use of land and cost of services, providing an example in Catalonia where perimeters of land already used are recycled rather than using more land.

Bangangté, Cameroon, said “thinking globally and acting locally” is a misnomer, calling for also thinking locally to identify local challenges and priorities, and to develop locally appropriate solutions to them.

Malmo, Sweden, called for seeing cities in their regional context, stressing connecting cities to the regions surrounding them in order to achieve sustainable urban development, particularly through access to transportation infrastructure.

Children and Youth, called for modifying the zero draft to: better articulate environmental integration; refer to ecological tax reform and integrated territorial development; refer to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and identify modalities for follow-up and review; and specify how rights holder groups and stakeholders will be engaged.

The International Union for Land Value Taxation called for capturing the full range of benefits from land value taxation in the negotiating text. He noted that language in the draft on strengthening the role of UN-Habitat is “general and weak,” and called for UN-Habitat to be directed to take a much more active role in assisting local authorities with the implementation of the agreed outcome.

ROUNDTABLES: Building the Urban Structure—Establishing a Supportive, National Sub-National and Local Framework: On Tuesday, Habitat III Co-Chair Gautier introduced the session.

Emphasizing decentralization and access to resources, Ilmar Reepalu, Councilor of Malmo, Sweden, and Vice-President, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, said strong self-governance is needed for citizens to reach their full potential, and that local governments need to control financial resources to conduct their activities. He noted holistic, sustainable solutions need to be defined at the local level by local people.

Mohamed Sefiani, Mayor, Chefchaouen, Morocco, stressed promoting participation and cohesion, and the need for policy to support capacity building in urban planning. He called for allocating power and resources at the intermediate town level to face natural disasters and climate change, and that this should be reinforced in the zero draft.

Andreas Wolter, Deputy Mayor, Cologne, welcomed the inclusiveness of the Habitat III process, including the current hearings, but noted it is only happening in an informal setting. He welcomed the recognition of local government responsibilities, but underscored the New Urban Agenda will not work without strong and enabled local decision makers and civil servants. He highlighted the importance of decentralized cooperation between cities, describing examples of collaboration between Cologne and sister cities.

Seberang Perai, Malaysia, emphasized the importance of building human, financial and technological capacity for disaster management, and noted that migrants also have a right to the city, citing that cities need the capacity to resolve cultural conflicts, and provide housing and amenities for them.

New Future Foundation emphasized that discussions about citizen participation will not be successful unless local authorities engage in concrete strategies to involve the public.

The Women and Gender Constituency of the General Assembly of Partners for Habitat III called for gender responsive policies and measures. She emphasized time-bound and concrete commitments to be undertaken by local authorities given the lack of consistent implementation and follow-up following Habitat II.

Móstoles, Spain, stressed the outcome document should included a commitment by national governments to provide 20% of budgets to local authorities. He stressed local authorities must be full-fledged members of the New Urban Agenda and that it should be operationalized through a new global governance mechanism and a common road map.

Reepalu underscored the benefits of people-centered and bottom-up approaches in engaging public participation.

Sefiani stressed the importance of establishing a forum, meeting every two to three years, to monitor implementation of the New Urban Agenda so that it is not necessary to wait until the next Habitat meeting in 20 years.

Wolter emphasized that local and regional governments need access to development funds, underscoring the need to develop grants or sub-grants sized to allow smaller local governments with limited capacity to access international development finance.

Planning and Managing the Urban Spatial Development: On Tuesday, Co-Chair Gautier introduced the session.

Juan Espadas Cejas, Mayor, Sevilla, Spain, focused on the management of urban spaces, noting it is essential to define the allocation of resources at the State level to implement the commitments. On the participation of local governments, he stressed they should be: co-responsible with national governments when committing to achieve international goals; provided with resources; and asked to report at high levels.

Focusing on decentralization and autonomy, Luis Fernando Matute Riera, Mayor, Pujili, Ecuador, and Association of Municipalities of Ecuador, noted the example of Ecuador, outlining new models of decentralization based on, among others, progressive subsidiarity and equality. He concluded highlighting the role played by local authorities associations in sustainable urban development, in terms of good, multi-level governance, and contributing to consensus and cohesion between players.

Illiza Sa’aduddin Djamal, Mayor, Banda Aceh, Indonesia, commended the space given to local governments in the Habitat III process. Stressing that local authorities are the first level called upon for assistance when populations are hit, she detailed Banda Aceh’s experience in post-disaster construction. She called for: finance and capacity for disaster risk reduction; coordination; consultation mechanisms; strengthened decentralization; and partnerships with citizens in planning and implementation.

During discussions, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, welcomed the progress reflected in the zero draft, stressing no steps back from this progress should be made. He called for including “existing patrimony” in the New Urban Agenda and for considering slums and informal settlements.

Eco Agriculture Partners and FAO recalled the Habitat III/FAO Expert Group Meeting on Integrating Food Into Urban Planning, which took place on 12 May 2016, in New York, US, noting recommendations on integrating food into the zero draft section on spatial and territorial design and planning, and land management, and taking a holistic approach to food.

Seberang Perai, Malaysia, underscored the importance of capacity building, stressing that to utilize big data, analysis requires human and technological capacity.

Children and Youth emphasized that well planned urban spaces encourage healthy lifestyles. Espadas Cejas highlighted that citizens respond well to multi-level governance. Matute Rivera noted the need for urban areas to provide rural sectors with incentives to avoid migration by encouraging sustainable rural livelihoods linked to, among others, agriculture and tourism.

Enhancing the Means of Implementation: On Tuesday, Habitat III Co-Chair Duarte introduced the session.

Geoffrey Makhubo, Member, Mayoral Committee for Finance, Johannesburg, South Africa, highlighted the importance of means of implementation, stressing that local authorities must take part to the conversation. He underscored implementation frameworks with specific standards for efficient financing, community land trusts, investment on low carbon infrastructure, and proposed a global partnership umbrella, or task force, to consolidate all actors on local finance issues.

Philip Anthony McPhee, President, Bahamas Association of Local Government Authorities, and Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities, called for recognition by ECOSOC of their constituency as a distinct stakeholder in the process. He stressed the need for mechanisms that would feed into the follow-up and review process of the 2030 Agenda and support implementation at local and sub-national levels.

Souad Zaïdi, Deputy Mayor, Rabat, Morocco, said that most actions to achieve the SDGs and a balanced urban development are the responsibility of local governments, who lack the financial means to do so, and underscored that this is particularly true in developing countries. She said local governments should have adequate funding, stressing the need to increase the proportion of national income dedicated to local development and of value taxes distributed to communities.

CEMR-CCRE emphasized the need for adequate funding and make the relationship between all levels of governance more efficient.

Plaine Commune, France, stressed that because situations differ, goals must not be the same for all, calling instead for a shared structure for assessing implementation so that 20 years do not pass without any sense of accomplishment.

UCLG Africa, noting that local authorities are increasingly encouraged to rely on their own tax bases, called for insuring the multinational companies pay national and local taxes.

Seberang Perai, Malaysia, underscored the mismatch in funding as donors are not interested in small projects, stressing that many small projects with potentially high impacts on day-to-day lives go unfunded.

Children and Youth called for referring to means of implementation in a manner consistent with Agenda 2030 and addressing illicit financial flows.

Makhubo said even with the best intentions, without sufficient support the New Urban Agenda will fail, calling for specific reference to national and international funds to backstop the intentions of the Agenda.

Follow-Up and Review of the New Urban Agenda: On Tuesday, Habitat III Co-Chair Duarte introduced the panel.

Patrick Braouezec, President, Plaine Commune, France, described future challenges as: reducing poverty and inequalities by giving local authorities more power; eliminating socioeconomic segregation and focusing on living and developing well; addressing the question of mobility and its impact on jobs; and generating participation, democracy, legitimacy and partnerships.

Atarake Nataara, Minister of Internal Affairs, Kiribati, welcomed the zero draft recognition of, inter alia, the need for partnerships, a framework for follow-up and review that feeds into the SDG implementation and review process, and legal frameworks at all levels. She also stressed the need for formal recognition of the local governments in both the Habitat III process and the entire UN System.

Rommel Santiago Correa Padrón, Representative, Cañar Province, Ecuador, supported the zero draft document and highlighted the need to take into account the role of intermediate level of government in, inter alia, territorial autonomy, bottom-up determination of policies, negotiation mediation and the implementation of national plans. He stressed the importance of recognizing both small and medium-size towns, and the role of the rural space in the urban agenda.

Celéstine Ketcha Courtes, Mayor, Bangangté, and President, Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa, stressed recognition of the role of mayors and local governments, and commended the advocacy of the Global Task Force. She underlined the importance of, among others: decentralizing cooperation; learning and sharing experience; enhancing effectiveness and avoiding duplication of structure; cooperating with other levels of government; building capacity on finance; and developing partnerships based on equality.

During discussions UN-Habitat welcomed the zero draft underscoring its recognition of the role of local authorities, and supported strengthening of local authorities’ participation in the UN system.

Athens, Greece, called for the New Urban Agenda to reflect the question of refugees.

Community Mayor of Harlem Delois Blakely, US, said that Harlem is in itself a local authority in the city of New York, and called for listening to the youth, as they are the future foundation of the society.

Children and Youth stressed that the HLPF is the apex of follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, noting that the zero draft “starkly fails” to make any reference to the HLPF. He emphasized the New Urban Agenda should articulate modalities for assessment and review by the HLPF and called for an engagement mechanism for rights holders and stakeholders.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, said that citizens should be at the center of the New Urban Agenda, stressing that local authorities are critical as implementers and noting the importance of maintaining their participation over the next months.

CLGF said the negotiations must be contextualized in broader international processes and welcomed the dedicated hearings for local authorities.

Courtes stressed the need to change the paradigm towards thinking locally and promoting exchanges between the global and local to make sure the needs of the people are taking into account.

Closing Session: Habitat III Secretary-General Joan Clos thanked local authorities for their contributions, noting this is the first time they have had a formal platform to contribute to the Habitat process. He noted that the way modern states are organized means that all levels of government need to reach a new consensus for collaboration. He noted that planning must often go beyond single municipalities, stressing that local jurisdictions are often in disagreement resulting in inefficiencies. He underscored the need for national governments to be in tune with what is occurring at the local levels, highlighting that one of the salient ideas in the New Urban Agenda is a national urban policy that would make the links between national and local governments more transparent.

Habitat III Co-Chair Gautier thanked representatives for sharing their experiences, highlighting those that have experienced natural disasters and rapid population growth, and stressing that the contributions will help in the preparations towards Habitat III. She noted the need to value the role of local authorities and to take them into account during decision-making processes.

Habitat III Co-Chair Duarte said the zero draft will be further enriched by the contributions made. She called for ensuring efforts to achieve the SDGs.

The meeting was gaveled to a close at 5:31pm. 


Informal Intergovernmental Negotiations: This is the first of three informal intergovernmental negotiations to deliberate on the zero draft of the Habitat III outcome document.  dates: 18-20 May 2016  location: New York, US  contact: Habitat III Secretariat  email: [email protected] www:

Forum on Shaping Smarter and More Sustainable Cities: Striving for Sustainable Development Goals: This Forum aims to: analyze and discuss the concept of smart sustainable cities; map current national and international initiatives on this topic; identify key challenges and opportunities; examine various standards, indicators and methodologies for assessing the performance of cities; and discuss the potential of smart sustainable cities for bolstering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  dates: 18-19 May 2016  location: Rome, Italy  contact: Domenica Carriero, UNECE Housing and Land Management Unit  phone: +4122 917 16 72  email: [email protected] www:

Civil Society Informal Hearings: These hearings will bring together members of civil society to exchange views with member states on the zero draft of the outcome document of Habitat III.  dates: 6-7 June 2016  location: New York, US  contact: Habitat III Secretariat  email: [email protected] www:

Informal Intergovernmental Negotiations: This is the second of three informal intergovernmental negotiations to deliberate on the zero draft of the Habitat III outcome document.  dates: 8-10 June 2016  location: New York, US  contact: Habitat III Secretariat  email: [email protected] www:

Informal Intergovernmental Negotiations: This is the final informal intergovernmental negotiation session prior to the third meeting of the Habitat III Preparatory Committee (PrepCom3), where the zero draft of the Habitat III outcome document will be discussed.  dates: 29 June - 1 July 2016  location: New York, US  contact: Habitat III Secretariat  email: [email protected] www:

Resilient Cities 2016: 7th Annual Global Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation: Resilient Cities 2016 will focus on driving forward implementation and financing of urban resilience toward the goal of a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient urban development. The forum will address a range of issues, including inclusive resilience strategies, financing resilient cities, measuring and monitoring progress, resilience and adaptation planning, governance and collaboration, resource management, and resilient infrastructure. It will also present an opportunity to review local progress on international framework agreements, including the Sendai Framework for DRR as well as the resilient targets of SDG 11.  dates: 6-8 July 2016  location: Bonn, Germany  contact: ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability World Secretariat  phone: 49–228/976 299-28  fax: +49-228/976 299-01  email: [email protected] www:

High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2016): The Fourth High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, convening under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council, will take place on 11-15 July 2016, followed by a three-day ministerial meeting of the Forum on 18-20 July 2016. The theme of the 2016 session will be “Ensuring that no one is left behind,” as decided in an ECOSOC plenary session on 14 March 2016.  dates: 11-20 July 2016  venue: UN Headquarters  location: New York City, US  contact: Marion Barthelemy  phone: +1 (212) 963-4005  email: [email protected] www:

Habitat III PrepCom 3: The PrepCom will hold its third of three meetings in advance of the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), in Surabaya, Indonesia. Participants will discuss the zero draft of the New Urban Agenda that will focus on policies and strategies to harness urbanization.  dates: 25-27 July 2016  location: Surabaya, Indonesia  contact: Habitat III Secretariat  email: [email protected] www:

Habitat III: The UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) aims to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable urban development, assess progress and accomplishments to date, address poverty and identify and address new and emerging challenges. The conference is expected to result in an action-oriented outcome document and the establishment of the “New Urban Agenda.”  dates: 17-20 October 2016  location: Quito, Ecuador  contact: Habitat III Secretariat  email: [email protected] www: